Preview #3

Excerpted from Chapter 12: Consequences:

Dumisai moved quickly in the direction that he had seen the dog’s shadow moving against the hall corridor. Áfu emitted a low growl as he slowly followed, keeping the boy within his sight. Dumisai ignored the wolf’s warning, determined to satisfy his curiosity. He turned the corner of the hallway and was momentarily frozen by the sight of a dazzling array of dancing red lights apparently awaiting his arrival. The bright reddish-glowing orbs danced frantically through the air, swirling about each other as if in a frenzy. The closer the light circles came to each other, the faster they seemed to churn. Eventually, the smallest circles of light coalesced, forming larger circles. As the light expanded, the lambent orb began to lose its sheen, growing darker and making what had previously been a scarlet red into a shadowy, sanguine mass which was unrecognizable in form. The substance continued to grow while being bombarded by the remaining blood-red orbs until it finally completed its transformation. The result was a fully-formed, black jackal-like creature standing on all fours with the crackle of energy pulsating around it. The energy bubbled conspicuously, outlining the creature in blood-red effervescence. It shot a deathly stare of contempt toward Dumisai as it pulled back its black gums, exposing sharp, white teeth. Its dark red eyes and tongue contrasted sharply against the black mass of energy which appeared to be in constant motion. The creature emitted a visceral growl before suddenly pouncing toward the still startled Dumisai. Instinctively, the boy attempted to elude the quasi-liquid jackal-creature by diving out of the way, but the effort was futile. The force of the impact knocked him onto his back. Dumisai scrambled to regain his footing as he recalled his earlier experience with the Wanga in the cave, but the creature was quickly upon him again, forcing his back against the hallway wall. He could feel the viscous nature of the energy bubbling against his brown skin. The dark-reddish glow outlining the creature’s form pulsed violently as its eyes searched menacingly for the most appropriate spot to strike. Dumisai searched his peripheral vision for Áfu. He could hear the wolf’s forceful attempts to get at the creature even though some unseen force was holding the animal back and preventing him from assisting. Dumisai tried dislodging the jackal-beast from atop his body but the effort was useless; the creature would not budge. It appeared to be toying with him, savoring the final moments before completing a kill. Dumisai knew that he was at the mercy of the creature and searched desperately for anything that could be used as a weapon, but nothing was within his reach. His desperation nearly sent him into a panic as the creature began its final assault, trapping him underneath its tenebrous form. Dumisai’s world went dark as he was engulfed in the suffocating swirl of the creature’s sepulchral blackness. He opened his eyes, pushing aside the blackness only to find that the air around him had become almost completely suspended. It was as though the world itself had begun moving in slow motion. Dumisai could see a distorted image of Áfu silently fading in and out of view. His ability to distinguish between illusion and reality deserted him as he lost control over all of his mental processes. He was certain that his life was slipping away as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Each pass into the darkness became more inviting than the last. It seemed to be beckoning for him to come in as if it was a genuine place of refuge. Dumisai wanted to embrace the darkness. It appeared to be somewhere that he could escape from the tumult which was assaulting him…

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